Have you ever wondered how your local government operates on a daily basis or why something at one of your public offices works a certain way? Many people keep up with local politics and community news, but they don’t actually know what happens behind the scenes of their city government. But, if you live in Oakland Park, there is a way you can find out.
Oakland Park offers a free educational program for adults 18 and over called the Local Government Academy (LGA). Residents, business owners, and city employees are eligible to participate. Whether you want to be a better community leader, are planning to run for office, or are just curious about how Oakland Park works, this program will certainly be useful for you.
Last week, on Thursday, September 29, the City of Oakland Park kicked off the 2022 Local Government Academy class after eighteen residents signed up for the ten-week program.
Oakland Park’s Local Government Academy Classes
The Local Government Academy (LGA) classes allow participants to learn about the inner workings of the city’s operations and develop skills to help them be effective leaders in the community.
Participants get to learn about the history of Oakland Park as well as daily operations at the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Fire Rescue, Parks and Leisure Services, Public Works, Engineering, Finance, and more. This allows residents to gain an in-depth understanding of how each of these departments works and the role they play in keeping the city a great place to live.
The LGA sessions are usually held in various city buildings so that participants get to see the different facilities, but due to planned construction projects, classes for the current session are being held at the Collins Community Center.
According to the City of Oakland Park, “The sessions are a combination of lecture, demonstration, and question and answer. Classes are held once a week, from 6 to 9 p.m., to accommodate participants’ work schedules during regular business hours.”
During the program, residents also get opportunities to speak with various City staff members individually and learn about all of the responsibilities of management and staff.
At the end of the program, participants earn a certificate at a graduation ceremony.
Why Participate in the Local Government Academy?
Knowing how your city and its public services work makes you an informed citizen so you can better understand the needs of the community and how you can help. Residents who complete the program gain valuable leadership skills, and some end up running and getting elected for local government office.
In fact, the LGA can almost be considered a training ground for future city commissioners and elected officials. All of Oakland Park’s current elected officials are graduates of the LGA.
Shannon Vezina, Public Information Officer at the City of Oakland Park, explains that “knowing the City’s history can help create greater awareness and a sense of pride in the community. Residents who participate in the Local Government Academy gain an understanding of our day-to-day operations as well as the community vision we are actively working to bring to life. They are empowered to share what they learn with the neighbors in their community.”
Next LGA Sessions
Whether you plan to run for a local government office position or you simply want to learn more about how the city runs, the City of Oakland Park’s Local Government Academy will host its next session in 2023. They plan to open registration next year, but anyone who is interested in learning more can call Heidi Burnett at 954-630-4510.